I bet that no matter what you wanted to be when you grew up, there was probably at least one time in your childhood that you wanted to be a rock star. Everyone wants to be a rock star at one point or another. Even people who grow up to be famous for another reason want to be rock stars.
In fact, for many of those kids who became actors, that desire to make music never went away. A few months ago we took two blog entries to talk a little bit about celebrities with surprising musical talent. This week we’re going to explore some actors whose musical talent isn’t so surprising, since they’ve been playing with a band for a while!
Ryan Gosling: Dead Man’s Bones
Think back to season six of the All-New Mickey Mouse Club. So many Grammy award-winning artists came out of that group of kids: Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera. But there’s one name that isn’t usually grouped with these others; Ryan Gosling. One half of the two-man band, “Dead Man’s Bones,” Gosling started the band in 2005 with his friend Zach Shields. They released their first album in 2009, of which Rolling Stone gave an impressive review.
Zooey Deschanel: She & Him
New Girl star, and Katy Perry look-alike, Zooey Deschanel has been recording music with musician Matthew “M.” Ward as “She & Him” since 2006. Ward had this to say about Deschanel’s voice in an interview with Billboard: “Her voice dosn’t sound like anything else that’s out there. All I really had to is press record… I feel like she secretly had been working on a first record for years but kept it under her hat and focused on acting.”
Greg Grunberg, Hugh Laurie, James Denton, Bob Guiney & More: Band From TV
When Hereos star Greg Grunberg got the idea in his head to form an all-star charity cover band made up completely of TV stars, there was only one thing to name the group: Band From TV. Amoung the TV stars to join Grunberg have been House’s Hugh Laurie,who sings and plays keyboard, Desperate Housewives’ James Denton on guitar, and former Bachelor star Bob Guiney on vocals. Over the years they’ve also had a lot of celebrity cameos, including Jorge Garcia, Teri Hatcher, and even the Today Show’s Lester Holt to name just a few.
Jena Malone: The Shoe
Okay, so “The Shoe” is really just Jena Malone, not a band, but she still warrants an entry. She’s already been a major force in Hollywood, scoring memorable roles in Donnie Darko, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Sucker Punch. But if that wasn’t enough for you, she also releases improvisational folk music under the name The Shoe. The name comes from a shoebox full of pedals and music-makers that she carries around. Not to mention that she has her own label, builds her own instruments, and has been known to busk on occasion.
Jack Black: Tenacious D
Though he’s got a few more dramatic roles under his belt, Jack Black built his name on lighthearted comedy. And Tenacious D, his band with Kyle Gass, and occasionally Dave Grohl (from Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame), is no different. It’s been a little while since they released their last album, Rize of the Fenix, and Jack’s been pretty busy in Hollywood lately, but let’s hope they’ve got another modern-day funnyrock classic still in them.
Jared Leto: 30 Seconds to Mars
Probably the most recognized and popular band on this list, 30 Seconds to Mars is fronted by none other than the Joker himself, Jared Leto. Leto founded the band with his brother Shannon in 1998, and has been rocking it ever since. Described as a sort of U2 flavoured, mid-tempo rock sound, 30 Seconds to Mars isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and neither is Jared Leto.
Keanu Reeves: Dogstar
Long before he was traveling through time in a phone booth, defusing bombs on buses, or saving humanity from the evil robot overlords, Keanu Reeves had released two albums and an EP with his band, Dogstar. Their sound might be a little shaky, and a little late -’90s rock for some, but they opened for Bon Jovie, and still jam. Clearly Keanu chose to focus more on his acting career, but the band does still get together from time to time, even if a true “reunion” might never really be in the cards.
Scarlett Johansson: The Singles/Name TBA
I don’t mean to say that ScarJo is in two bands here, but rather, her band The Singles was forced to stop using that name, and have yet to come up with a new one. Miss Johansson has been singing for some time now, starting with the the track “Summertime” for Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by actors. From there she released a few solo and collaborative albums before forming her band in 2015.
Russell Crowe: 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, The Ordinary fear of God, Indoor Garden Party
Russell Crowe is one of those people who just can’t help but make music. He started recording music in the ’80s under the name “Russ le Roq,” before teaming up with the musicians that would go on to make up his longest running band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, in 1992. Since then his musical tastes have gone through a few changes, as have the bands he’s been a part of. Most recently he’s been seen providing vocals and guitar for Indoor Garden Party with fellow actor Scott Grimes.
Steve Martin: Steep Canyon Rangers
Steve Martin is probably best known for the musical touch he ads to his comedy. In fact, he’s been strumming his banjo since he was 17, and it was just a part of his stand up routine. Now, years later, Martin has evolved into one of the few modern day “song and dance” men, with his very own bluegrass hit with the band “Steep Canyon Rangers.” In fact, Martin has won five of the six Grammys he has been nominated for!